BY THE NUMBERS:
1 in 205: Chances of colliding with a deer on a road in Georgia each year
1 in 217: Chances of colliding with a deer on a road nationally each year
$3,103: Average amount of damages sustained in a deer collision
200: Number of fatalities nationally in a year in deer collisions
Source: State Farm
Here are tips on how to reduce your chance for a collision with a deer:
• Watch for Deer Crossing signs that are placed in active deer crossing areas.
• Deer are most active between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
• Use high beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roadways.
• Keep in mind that deer travel in herds. If you see one, there are likely others nearby.
• Do not rely on car-mounted deer whistles.
• If a deer collision seems inevitable, go ahead and drive into the animal. Attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.
Source: State Farm
You've got to watch out while driving in Newton County this time of year, when Bambi turns into Romeo.
October marks the start of mating season for deer, and that means they are on the move.
It also means that they have their minds on love instead of oncoming traffic, so beware.
Georgia drivers stand a 1 in 205 chance in a year of being involved in a vehicle crash with a deer, according to information from State Farm Insurance.
The national average is 1 collision per 217 drivers in a year. West Virginia drivers are the most prone to unfortunate encounters with deer, with 1 collision per 42 drivers in a year.
About 200 drivers are killed in wrecks involving deer in a year and the average collision causes $3,103 in damages to a car, according to State Farm.
The collisions are more likely in the last three months of the year when deer are more active.
"The main thing is it's breeding season and they move around more," said Don McGowan, a biologist with the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Roadways bordered with woods are especially problematic.
"They can literally pop out and you don't have advance notice," McGowan said.
Covington resident Dana Burton is all-too-well aware of the problem. A deer bounded in front of her GMC
Yukon on Monday as she was traveling about 45 mph on Georgia Highway 11. The collision didn’t end well for the deer, but the SUV faired a bit better, sustaining a burst radiator and some front and side body damage.
"It ran out in front of me," Burton said.
It messed it up pretty bad."
Mike Dinatti, collision center manager for Ginn Chevrolet in Covington, said cars damaged in wrecks with deer are brought in for body work throughout the year, but that there’s a definite uptick about now.
Your initial reaction if a deer bounds into your path is to swerve, but Georgia State Patrol Cpl. Tracy English of the Morgan County barracks said that it’s safer to slow down, try to maintain your lane and hit the deer. Swerving may cause you to lose control of your vehicle and cause a worse wreck.
"It’s better to hit the deer and not try to avoid it," he said.